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Utah pilots take to skies with the new F-35

Published April 24, 2014 10:22 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Pilots from Utah's Hill Air Force Base trained alongside the U.S. military's new F-35 fighter jet for the first time Thursday.

The pilots didn't fly the F-35 but did participate in a training mission aboard F-16s, according to an Air Force press release. The exercise was at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.

Hill Air Force Base is to receive a squadron of 72 F-35s next year. The jets will be flown by 388th and 419th fighter wings. Those wings flew the F-16s in Thursday's exercise.

While the F-35 is said to be more advanced than the 3 ½ decade-old F-16s, the Air Force anticipates the two aircraft will fly combat missions together.

Hill Air Force Base already provides maintenance on the F-35.

ncarlisle@sltrib.com

Twitter: @natearlisle